A deciduous suckering shrub up to 10 or 15 ft high, or a small tree, with a thick, fissured bark; buds ovoid, with persistent stipules; young shoots covered at first with a pale, rusty down. Leaves of firm texture, obovate or oblong-obovate, 23⁄4 to 43⁄4 in. long, 11⁄4 to 21⁄4 in. wide, obtuse at the apex, narrowed to a roundish base, dark, dull green and almost glabrous above, paler and downy beneath, with three to six pairs of deepish, obtuse, entire lobes on each side; petiole 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long. Fruits ripening the first season, borne on a slender peduncle less than 1 in. long. Acorn ovoid, acute, up to 7⁄8 in. long; cup hemispherical, enclosing about half the acorn; scales thickish, downy, appressed except at the tip.
Native of the Rocky Mountains, USA, at high altitudes; introduced towards the end of the last century. It is perfectly hardy, but of no ornamental value.
var. gunnisonii (Torr.) Wenzig Q. alba var. gunnisonii Torr.; Q. gunnisonii (Torr.) Rydb. – Dwarfer than the type, the leaves scarcely paler below than above, narrow-obovate or elliptic, acorn shorter, obtuse. Native of the Rocky Mountains from Colorado and Utah southwards. There is a small example at Kew.